Digital Living Home Automation

Guide to Getting Started with Home Automation

Turning your home into a digital oasis doesn’t require you to shell out thousands of dollars upfront, nor does it require Geek Squad installation or hunting down your neighborhood tech whiz.  In fact, the easiest way to get started swimming in the waters of home automation is simply dipping your toes into the shallow end and eventually wading into deeper waters.

Here’s a simple approach to finding out if home automation is right for you.

Start with Lighting

Robotic vacuums and talking refrigerators sound cool, but the easiest way to get started in the world of home automation is to look at the least technologically advanced part of your home:  the lighting.

The beauty of smart lights is they can behave like normal (dumb) lights if you want.  While many companies advertise color-changing lights that can reproduce every color known to man, the reality is a simple white smart light is a great start to your home automation journey. 

Philips, the leader in the smart lighting category, has a relatively inexpensive White Hue Starter Kit, or if you prefer, Amazon has many cheap wifi lights that don’t require a centralized control system and can be connected directly to your wireless home network.

The one caveat to be aware of with smart lights: When you install the smart lights in a standard light receptacle or a lamp socket, you’ll need to keep the light switch turned on or lamp switch on to control the light via a smart app. The smart lights work off of the power supplied by a switch that’s “on”. which might cause some confusion upon initial setup.

Move into Voice Control

Once you’ve got your lighting starter kit working and are able to turn your lights on and off with your smartphone, it’s time to step up to the big leagues.  Getting a voice assistant is the next step in becoming a home automation enthusiast.

Purchase a cheap voice assistant such as an Echo Dot from Amazon’s Alexa ecosystem or a Home Mini from Google’s voice assistant ecosystem.

Not only can these voice assistants play music, answer questions, or tell you the weather, but you can also pair your smart lights with the device, group them, and control your lighting with your voice.

There’s no greater start to a digital home than being able to say “Alexa, turn on my kitchen lights.”

Add Media Control

No home is truly smart if you still need to fumble with multiple remotes just to control a simple home entertainment setup.  Enter the Harmony Smart Control, which can be used to control your TV, Blu Ray Player, Cable Box, and even your streaming media player.

If you want to take things one step further, you can even pair your Smart Control with your voice assistant (Amazon Alexa or Google Home) so you can start to control your home entertainment system with your voice.

Finally, Wade Into the Deep End

Once you’ve got the basics in place (lighting and media control backed by a strong voice assistant) then the sky is the limit. At that point it’s simply a matter of swapping out your dumb home equipment with smart supplies as fast as your budget will allow.  A few areas to consider, smart switches, robotic vacuums, smart garage door openers, or smart doorbells.

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